Russian president Vladimir Putin may appear in the news on a daily basis, but almost nothing is known about his daughters, Mariya, 27 and Yekaterina, 25.As adults, they have never been photographed by the Russian media and it’s said that the Russian public would not recognise the women if they ran into them on the street. The girls have always been carefully guarded by the Russian government and were even pulled out of school and taught at home once their father hit the spotlight.
Even so, they make great fodder for the Russian blogosphere. Most of what’s known about them is unconfirmed rumour, but here are a few of the more interesting tidbits we dug up:
- They are apparently friends with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s daughter Barbara, who speaks Russian. According to a 2002 article in The St. Petersburg Times, the girls spent vacation together swimming and sightseeing in Sardinia.
- In 2010, it was rumoured that Yekaterina, the younger daughter, was to wed her longtime boyfriend, the son of a South Korean admiral. But those rumours were flat-out denied by the Kremlin and in April, when the rumours resurfaced, the father of the man again denied that the reports were true, according to The Wall Street Journal. The pair did, however, meet at a dance in Moscow and supposedly dated for a decade.
- Even less has been written about Mariya’s love life, but Dutch and Russian news sources have connected her to Jorrit Faassen, a Dutchman who has held high-level positions at subsidiaries of Gazprom, the state-owned gas company, The New York Times reported.
- In 2005, the Russian paper pravda.ru reported that the girls had enrolled in St. Petersburg University. Mariya was said to be studying biology and geology, and Yekaterina had enrolled in Oriental studies, according to the article. But even though classes had started when the article was published, neither girl had been spotted on campus.
- Their whereabouts today are completely unknown. In a May 2012 article about a rare sighting of Putin’s (possibly) estranged wife, Lyudmila, The New York Times noted: “Their daughters attended college under assumed names, and many of their classmates did not know their true identities. Even now, it is not known if they live in Russia or abroad, and what, if anything, they do professionally.”
That’s about all we could find on Putin’s daughters. Compared to the heaps of information that are available on President Obama’s young daughters—and even considering Russia’s censorship of the media—it’s fascinating that coverage of Putin’s daughters is virtually nonexistent.
But if a recent report on Putin’s wealth, which declares he has $1 billion in the bank and access to 43 aircraft, is true, we can be sure his daughters are living comfortably, somewhere out of the spotlight.
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